I bet it’d be a particularly rich topic to investigate with a traditional Polynesian navigator, if you happened to find one. Everything by stars versus marks on the hull, “seamarks,” and encyclopedic memory; no other instruments or charts.
On the other hand, the way we talk about places is distinct from the way we talk about direction. A person can come from “back east,” or “up north,” or “down under”; but but we’d never say something like: when you see Muckle Flugga Light, go downwards until you see Buchaness Light.
These places that reference direction reflect our consciousness that we have a cultural orientation about what places are more important than where we are talking about. They tell us which way our cultural compass in pointing. “Back East” is where the powerful established cities are and the capitals, if you are a North American. “Up North,” is remote from and forgotten about by the southern population centres. “Down Under” emphasizes how remote Australia is from Europe. All those turns of phrase show us where the cultural compass points. I still call it back east, even though I’ve spent very little time there, have no family there, and no recent ancestors lived there, and I kinda resent seeing the New York skyline in every single movie and television show, even the ones that are filmed in Vancouver.
But the cultural compass isn’t a good way to give directions. We either give them relative to the person or ship (“Turn right where the dead horse used to be,” “or turn a bit more to starboard, kiddo”) or relative to a chart that we can agree on and a compass direction.